Networking is one of the key skill sets you must have in your success toolkit. It helps us find our way to our goals more easily than going it alone.

It is fundamental in the foundation of building a business and extremely crucial for entrepreneurs out there. Knowing the right people can get you in through some difficult doors.

Important as this is, it’s also easy to mess up especially if you’re a rookie. In this article I share a few do’s and don’ts so you can nail networking effortlessly!

1. Do stand out

A witty joke, a focused question or even your posture – all these features help you stand out and make you more memorable to people. This is more impactful during events with a lot of people where many conversations are already taking place. Your personality comes forward when you stand out, making you seem approachable to other folks.

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Most of us hesitate to ask questions as we think we may come across as annoying or just straight-up dumb. This is a wrong view – the more questions you ask, the more invested you are in the topic a person may be talking about and they will definitely enjoy answering them! People like to showcase experience and knowledge so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask questions.

3. Do follow the 80/20 rule

This rule makes sure you don’t intimidate other people during networking conversations. The rule is to listen 80% of the time, ask questions 10% of the time and share your opinion 10% of the time. Engaging people in what you speak about is important, such as your elevator pitch and doing so can make them interested in what you say.

4. Don’t start a conversation with your business card

Although business cards are a highly necessary item, especially at networking events – there is always time to give them out later. Nowadays this may obsolete at most events, people prefer to connect directly via linkedin or social media. Invest the first few minutes in developing a connection with the other person talking about mutual interests. After building a rapport, collect those business cards. 

5. Don’t be a passive listener

A passive listener is somebody who listens without focus or reactions and can be distracted or fidgeting with things. This discourages the other person from continuing their talk. Therefore, networking events call for active listening. Here, you give the speaker your full attention, lean into the conversation or respond by saying ‘yes’ or other cues like right etc to show them you understand and would like to hear more. 

6. Connect virtually.

With the pandemic shutting down in person events, I highly recommend connecting virtually. Ask to connect in a small group or 1:1, schedule time on your calendar and put yourself out there. Networking does not have to stop because of the pandemic

Stay connected, Invest in the relationship, Ask how you can help and enjoy building a thriving network.